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Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Pell City AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Pell City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Pell City AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Pell City AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Pell City AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Pell City AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Pell City home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Pell City AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.